Communications of the Association for Information Systems


This paper motivates a comprehensive academic study of metadata and the roles that metadata plays in organizational information systems. While the benefits of metadata and challenges in implementing metadata solutions are widely addressed in practitioner publications, explicit discussion of metadata in academic literature is rare. Metadata, when discussed, is perceived primarily as a technology solution. Integrated management of metadata and its business value are not well addressed. This paper discusses both the benefits offered by and the challenges associated with integrating metadata. It also describes solutions for addressing some of these challenges. The inherent complexity of an integrated metadata repository is demonstrated by reviewing the metadata functionality required in a data warehouse: a decision support environment where its importance is acknowledged. Comparing this required functionality with metadata management functionalities offered by data warehousing software products identifies crucial gaps. Based on these analyses, topics for further research on metadata are proposed.